Hello from Albuquerque!
With our boat safely tied up in a Georgia marina, familia Midence hopped on a plane headed for Albuquerque, NM to celebrate the 40th International Balloon Fiesta. Starting with 13 balloons in 1972, the festival has grown to over 500 balloons on the roster this year. It will be a fun couple weeks visiting with Jack’s brother in Albuquerque, attending various Balloon Fiesta events, and celebrating Marietta’s second birthday with my sister Megan, her friend Cecily and our good family friends Johanna & family. I might squeeze in a little thrift store shopping to find Marietta some jeans and a warm hat, she has mostly shorts and warm weather clothes and it’s chilly in Albuquerque.
Jack and I crewed with the Nilz family balloon team 4 years ago on our honeymoon and are all lined up to crew again this year. My involvement will be a little less this time around as waking small children at 4am to drive to the balloon fields doesn’t strike me as fun. It’s hard work to get the balloons unpacked and in the air. Then once the balloon sails away, you pile in the chase RV camper (if you weren’t lucky enough to get a ride in the balloon this trip) and try to figure out where the balloon will land, taking into account wind direction and speed, how much fuel the balloon has and open areas that make for an easier landing. I was surprised at how the balloons land in the any available space from neighborhood streets to someone’s backyard to parking lots to empty fields.
To be able to pilot a balloon you must first get your private airplane pilots license, then there is an extra training and certificate to be able to be a balloon pilot. Jack already has his private airplane pilots license and I’ve always wanted to get mine. Who knows, maybe when we finish sailing and sell the boat we will take up ballooning.